Around 1:15 this afternoon a fracking waste-water injection site in Greeley Colorado went up in flames causing several large explosions. The Greeley Tribune reported that Fire-fighters waited to engage until around 5:30pm ” until the explosion risk subsided before going in with the foam fire suppression agent to subdue the fire.”
Explosions and fireballs erupted from the fire throughout the afternoon, spewing black smoke into the sky, which was visible for miles. The roar of the fire sounded like a freight train rumbling past.
A little after 3 p.m., the fire spread south toward a grouping of tanks, a loud whistling sound preceded a large explosion that launched a tank into the air. The tank landed about 60 feet from the site.
That afternoon, several tanks became airborne in the same fashion.
Greeley Fire Marshal Dale Lyman said “A lot of oil tanks failed.” Minor explosions rocked the site and fireballs erupted from the site during the day as tanks failed, caught on fire or started to leak, he said.
Doug White, vice president of NGL Water Solutions suspects that lightning may have struck one of the tanks sparking the blaze and resulting explosions during a passing storm sometime shortly after 1pm. The Denver Post reported that three homes near the well were evacuated during the early stages of the blaze and no injuries have been reported. Officials say they don’t know how the fire began.
According to the Greeley Tribune the site of the fire was near the site of an injection well that was linked to earthquakes near Greeley in May and June last year. On May 31, a 3.4 magnitude quake struck the area. On June 23, a 2.6 magnitude quake struck the same area. Researchers from the University of Colorado placed seismic monitors in the general area of several injection wells to better pinpoint the potential source of the quakes. They narrowed it to an injection well east of the Greeley-Weld County Airport. – Read more here & here.